A virtual screening tool helps detect skin cancer in nursing home residents, according to a pilot study by Stanford University researchers.
The pilot came about after investigators discovered that due to fears of contracting COVID-19, in-person visits to Stanford dermatology clinics by older adults were down 37% in 2020, compared to to 2019, and that the number of skin cancer diagnoses among this population decreased by 23% during the same period.
To help elderly patients get the care they needed, the dermatology team turned to the SkinIO app, which allows patients and clinicians to capture high-quality photos of lesions without visiting. in a clinic. The mobile app delivers the images through a secure portal to a dermatologist for review.
The pilot project tested the app’s effectiveness with residents of a long-term care facility in the San Francisco area, using in-home guided skin scanning and outlier lesion identification. Three skin cancers were identified among 27 participating residents; 11 were scheduled for follow-up appointments and four started treatment at their facilities.
Some of the skin cancers were lesions that the patient had not noticed before. Without the app’s full-body images, they might have been missed, said study co-author Kavita Sarin, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at Stanford.
Results published in Health and skin diseases suggest that teledermatology programs like this can help combat some barriers to care for older adults, especially those who are immobile or whose health is compromised.
“In some cases, skilled nursing facilities have to send patients to the clinic using an ambulance, which can be time consuming and expensive,” Sarin said. “If we could send staff to take pictures of these patients, that could be incredibly helpful for these patients and a great application of this system.”
Excerpt from the October 2022 issue of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News